Car Head Gaskets

Most of us will never have to deal with a cylinder head gasket replacement. But for those unlucky drivers and car owners who have already suffered through a severe overheating problem (especially if you live in dry, hot conditions), a new gasket is the only way to get your car running in optimum condition again. If you're willing to get those hands dirty, a good set of tools, a high-quality replacement, and a little knowledge on installation are all you need.

But what's a car head gasket anyway? It's one of the most important parts of the engine: it has to seal off the combustion chambers and the coolant and oil channels between the head and engine block. Without exaggerating, it provides the most critical sealing application on the most important part of your car. To do this job properly, it has to provide a hermetic seal that has to last approximately 150,000 miles on most modern automobiles-depending on the vehicle's make, model, and how it's used. But given its important function, this gasket isn't perfect.

One reason that makes engines hard to seal with head gaskets these days is the aluminum cylinder heads on cast iron blocks. These heads have less weight, but when they get hot, they expand 1.7 times faster than cast iron. That makes it tougher for the gasket to uphold its seal with all the thermal cycling on the iron heads. In other words, aluminum heads (while lighter) cannot withstand overheating the way heavier iron heads could in the past. The other reason is of course, regular wear and tear. A gasket has to be strong enough to withstand all the different physical and thermal forces it's exposed to everyday.

One way car head gasket manufacturers deal with the scrubbing problem, particularly in a bimetal engine, is to add a non-stick coating to the gasket. Teflon, molybdenum and other low-friction coatings were once used to prevent gaskets from sticking to either surface, allowing the head to expand and contract without tearing the gasket apart. But this technique is very different to what's being applied for cast iron engine head gaskets. In their case, raised silicone, Viton or fluoroelastomer sealing beads are applied to the face of the gasket to increase the clamping pressure. This improves the gasket's ability to form a good cold seal and maintain it by holding the gasket firmly in place.

Why is all this important? Because a failing head gasket can cause severe engine damage. So if yours need replacement, don't hesitate to immediately order one right here at Parts Train. With top-quality parts and reasonable prices like ours, we're sure our catalog of over a million parts and accessories is worth your time: so go ahead and browse through it if you need a new gasket or anything else to keep your engine running on optimum condition.